Lee Park’s Total Control
June 4, 2011 at 3:01 am #4395
So about 3 weeks ago now I took the Lee Park’s Total Control Class (first level, not sure if there are multiple levels but I suspect there are). Now I’ve had his book for over a year and can honestly say I learned nothing from it. Not because there is not good information in there but because the way the book is written just turned me off. This might just be a personal thing but I found it almost impossible to read. But, I’ve only ever heard good things about the class so I eventually signed up for it.
The class was a one day deal from 9am to 7pm. Sounds pretty intense but there was a lot of running back and forth between the classroom and the range. The classroom portion was a PowerPoint presentation taken directly from the book. Obviously this is a franchise type class and the instructors have to stick to a script. I could tell they had some reservations about the ‘why’ part of the instructions (but not the ‘what’) and they did their best to inject their own reasonings behind it but I was getting definite echoes of what turned me off from the book.
However, the real reason for taking classes like this is to have experienced eyes watch over you and tell you what you are doing wrong. I never had any doubt about what I was being told to do is the correct thing so I just forgot about the why and did my best. The feedback from the instructors was invaluable but as I had read, you only got to practice a few times before it’s on to the next lesson. It’s hard to come away from this class a better rider but you do come away with a lot of things to work on. That’s what I’ve been doing the past few weeks.
So what did I take away from the class?
1. Set up the bike for a corner before you ever start to turn in. By that I mean you are already leaning off and the bike is ‘cocked’ and ready to turn into the corner. One instructor likened it to drawing an arrow on a bow and then holding it. It is all primed and ready to go, you just need to flick the switch. The advantage of this is you are not moving around in the corner so the bike is more settled.
2. Once you are in this position you go deeper into the corner and then ‘flop’ the bike over pretty dramatically. The thinking is instead of gliding around the corner leaned over you make it more like two straight lines. This means there is a sharp change of direction in the middle of the corner. Thinking here is you reduce the amount of time you are leaned over so you reduce your exposure to risk. The sharp turn takes place on clean pavement that you can see and know has enough grip. Have to admit I find this hard to do in real life and is something I’m struggling with. Previously I would stick to the outside of the corner and only turn in once I saw the corner opening up. Not quite sure how to apply this sharp change of direction when you can’t see all the way through the corner (like most corners round here). However, seeing just how sharply the instructor could flop his bike over gave me the confidence to push it much harder than I’ve ever done before.
3. As well as turning your shoulders towards the corner turn your hips as well. Basically you want your whole body facing the corner. I realized I was sitting right up against the tank so there was no way I could move my hips. I forced myself to slide back on the seat which immediately felt more natural when I could drop a knee into corner (something I had avoided doing in the past) and turn hips and shoulder towards the corner. This immediately felt like the correct thing to be doing. Still have to work on reminding myself to slide back on the seat before the corner but when I do it all seems so natural.
One thing I have noticed since taking the class is I’m turning into the corners too soon. I believe this is because the bike is all prepped to turn before the corner and I’m still turning at the same point. The bike just dives in quicker now so that’s something I’m having to work on.
So even though I would only give the class 3 out of 5 (I would give the instructors 5 out of 5) and it seemed poor value for money at $300 I still heartily recommend it if you get the chance. Just the couple of small improvements I have made has made my riding more enjoyable. I feel like a better rider and once these new techniques become natural I’m sure I will be a faster AND a safer rider.June 5, 2011 at 2:51 pm #29633
Jeff in KentuckyParticipant
I like the Total Control book, but different people like different things. I rode from 1967 until 1975 on dirt and 1980 to 1985 on the street with no training except the “school of hard knocks”.
I took the Motorcycle Safety Foundation Experienced Ridercourse in 2002, and was glad that I did, especially after not having a motorcycle for 17 years. I consider the magazines, books and classes as seeds of knowledge that take years of practice to become better skills. Here is a pain pill primer that I wrote recently:
I have had several injuries the last 40 years, including broken bones, pulled tendons and bruises, and recently a partially dislocated shoulder that kept waking me up at night from the pain when moving in my sleep and rolling onto that shoulder.
Here is a list of pain pills I have used, from weaker to stronger. The weaker pain pills have fewer side effects, like constipation, internal bleeding, addiction and possible liver damage. Try the weaker, safer ones first, then move up as needed. Read the labels carefully before using them:
1. Aspirin- cheap, does not last long, good for a short term headache. It may cause intestinal bleeding after long term use, including hemmoroids. You can tell if you took too much if your ears start to ring. A small 80 mg pill taken daily may reduce the risks of having a heart attack or stroke, but check with your doctor for your circumstances. If you have a heart attack or stroke, 2 larger 360 mg aspirin taken immediately after calling 911 with water might save your life.
2. acetaminophen (Tylenol) – less chance of internal bleeding, lasts longer than aspirin but not overnight, can be dangerous for your liver if you overdose or drink more than 3 alcoholic drinks a day with it. You can buy a timed release version for arthritis that makes it last longer for duller types of pain including bruises.
3. ibuprofen (Advil)- works a little better than acetaminophen for me, but it has more side effect risks. Good for taking just before a long ride, and before you go to sleep after a long ride. It works better than acetaminophen for joint and tendon pains.
4. naproxen sodium (Aleve)- better for lasting all night or all day than the above choices, but it has higher overdose risks than the above choices. I am taking this at night now for my shoulder pain, it works better than the above pills for my last 2 hours of sleep.
5. Vicodin- by prescription only, for higher pain levels, addictive, and causes severe constipation for me.
I take 3 fiber therapy pills a day from Walmart when I am healing from an injury and using pain pills for days at a time; and I found if I mix the expensive Miralax laxative with some of the less expensive cherry flavored Milk of Magnesia laxative, I get gentle constipation relief within about an hour or two.
A doctor can often prescribe a muscle relaxant pill, an anti-inflammatory pill, or other ways to heal faster. I found that stretching reduces injury chances and makes an injury heal faster, especially if stretching makes a dislocated tendon snap back into place sooner. Some riders have a favorite chiropractor, but others prefer a regular doctor.
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